EU and Ukraine approve Action Plan for visa-free regime


KIEV, Ukraine – The EU President Herman Van Rompuy and the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych announced the adoption of the Action Plan for visa-free travel between the European Union countries and Ukraine. The decision came as a result of the 14th EU-Ukraine summit which took place today in Brussels.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce today the introduction of the visa-free regime Action plan for Ukraine which concerns short-term visits of the Ukrainian nationals to the EU”, Van Rompuy stated.

“I believe it is our joint achievement. Finally, we are getting very close to waiving the visa barriers”, the Ukrainian President said.

Viktor Yanukovych also said that this year’s summit is very special due to the historical decisions put on its agenda.

Roman Shpek, the representative of Ukraine in EU during 2000-2008, stated that the plan to cancel visa-regime is not an out of ordinary step. To achieve this goal Ukraine will still have to meet concrete obligations and requirements and its successes and failures will be closely analyzed. The most important part of the procedure will be looking into the effects such changes in the visa-regime might have on the member-states, with the final decision depending on the consensus between the states.

The draft of economic reforms in Ukraine for 2010-2014 mentions a goal of introducing the visa-free regime between Ukraine and the EU by the end of 2012. The President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, on the other hand, has promised the EU to implement measures foreseen by the Action Plan for Ukraine concerning the visa-free regime in the first half of 2011. Additionally, on 19 May 2010, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved a plan of urgent measures for 2010 aimed at integrating Ukraine into the EU.

The expectations of a positive outcome of the political discussions were boosted by Viktor Yanukovych’s remark that he felt welcomed at the summit and was granted a friendly reception.

Ukraine waived visas for all EU citizens back in 2005 on the occasion of the Eurovision Song Contest which the country hosted that year in Kyiv. The adopted Action Plan is the first step on the way to the reciprocity on the part of the EU.